Salmon Dishes–Dozen Best
Salmon is the best of the small number of fish that restaurants can count on keeping on their menus. The best salmon dishes are prepared with wild-caught Pacific fish, but that’s not always around. Atlantic salmon is a second choice, but still an excellent fish and very familiar.
1. Bayona. French Quarter: 430 Dauphine. 504-525-4455. A signature dishes since Bayona opened, the wild-caught Pacific salmon with choucroute and Gewurztraminer sauce is the subtle, finely-tuned dish for which Susan Spicer is best known.
2. GW Fins. French Quarter: 808 Bienville. 504-581-3467. The “short-smoked” salmon here is one of the few dishes that’s on the changing menu all the time. It’s Pacific salmon when that’s available, and is what you’d come up with if you barbecued the fish.
3. Rib Room. French Quarter: 621 St Louis St. 504-529-7045. Chef Rene Bajeux has upgraded the salmon offering here to wild-caught fish, served with pearl (Israeli-style) couscous, a cucumber and mint coulis, and sun-dried tomato. Every part of that is right.
4. Emeril’s. Warehouse District: 800 Tchoupitoulas. 504-528-9393. Emeril’s often gets unusual species of salmon, notably the Arctic char from northern Canada. A great fish.
5. RioMar. Warehouse District: 800 S Peters. 504-525-3474. Chef Adolfo Garcia calls his grilled salmon “unilateral,” meaning that he only cooks it on one side. That’s the skin side, which gets crisp as the heat radiates through the top.
6. Rue 127. Mid-City: 127 N Carrollton Ave. 504-483-1571. Broiled to crispy with panko bread crumbs, mustard, and herbs, and sent out with vegetable couscous. Simple but solid and light.
7. Broussard’s. French Quarter: 819 Conti. 504-581-3866. Since his days at the Versailles, Chef Gunter Preuss has always made salmon gravlax in house. He’s still doing it at Broussard’s, where the cold, apparently raw (but fully cured) salmon is part of a three-way appetizer with shrimp remoulade and crabmeat ravigote.
8. Nola. French Quarter: 534 St Louis. 504-522-6652. The salmon at Emeril’s experimental bistro has a Southwestern flavor. It’s grilled and paired with black beans and corn, with both a chimichurri butter and tomatillo salsa.
9. La Crepe Nanou. Uptown: 1410 Robert. 504-899-2670. Classic French bistro pan-seared salmon with a great bearnaise.
10. Morton’s The Steakhouse. CBD: 365 Canal (Canal Place Mall). 504-566-0221. Morton’s offers both a hot-smoked Pacific salmon as an appetizer, and a big slab of salmon from the steak broiler with an assortment of sauces, of which the peppercorn cream is the most interesting.
11. Chateau Du Lac. Old Metairie: 2037 Metairie Rd. 504-831-3773. Here is one of the last New Orleans restaurants to serve Scottish smoked salmon, sliced thin by hand to order, with the traditional garnishes.
12. Dakota. Covington: 629 N US 190 . 985-892-3712. Here’s a unique approach: the salmon is cooked in a bath of olive oil at about the boiling point of water. This renders it soft, rich, and in need of a textural contrast. Asparagus, crabmeat, and tomatoes are other parts of the idea.